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Porter Family Update

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Xin Nian Kuai Le...Happy Chinese New Year!!

We are just finishing up the long holiday weekend where many are celebrating Chinese New Year (CNY).  Traditionally, people travel to visit their hometowns and enjoy dinners together.  We had a chance to learn about some of the traditions associated with CNY. For example, if you are invited over to someone's house, you should bring 2 oranges to bless them with.  There are also little red envelopes which you are to put money into and give to anyone in your family not married yet.  But, the money must be an even-numbered amount but not a multiple like 4, 44, 8, 88, etc because those numbers are associated with death.  You should also wear red for 15 days, and the best news is you don't have to clean your house all weekend!
You may have heard about this virus called the Wuhan Virus, which has been a scary shadow over the festivities.  We have had 5 cases in Singapore, causing a tangible uneasiness in public transportation and crowded places.  But, for our friends in the Big C, it is much more real.  We do not have any of our workers infected yet, but they are seeing many stores just shut down, mask and temperature checks before being allowed into a store to purchase food, transportation effected, and just the fear of the infection spreading.  They are wondering if they should evacuate before they may not have the choice.  
Praise: For protection of our workers so far.
Pray: For wisdom as they seek wisdom on how to protect themselves, evacuation decisions, and for ways to minister to the locals during this time.
As Shannon mentioned above, the Wuhan Virus has kept me quite busy providing our members with updates and advice.  I've also have had several questions regarding my job and how I will maintain my license in the US without a license here.  The good news is I can get enough continuing medical education hours to maintain my license.  The harder question is my hospital credentials.  But, after a preliminary discussion, I'm hopeful I can gain privileges back at Garrett County Regional Medical Center when we return on home assignment.    
Tomorrow I'm leaving for a conference in Bangkok, Thailand.  I will be performing medical reviews on our members' families attending the conference.  When I get back from the conference our February OC will be starting.  I will be giving one lecture this time on insurance.  Fun, not really!  I will also have the pleasure of meeting with some of the members for medical interviews and praying for them as they leave for the field.  It is always an exciting time as these families take huge steps of faith into new cultures and new situations.  Please pray for these new workers.  Also, continue to pray for opportunities for me to serve in Northeast Asia.  There was a recent conference in Colorado about the future work I have had the honor of being a part of.  We will see where the Lord leads in that area.  God has been continuing to bless Celebrate Recovery as it is in its second year here.  Our church pastor here is taking us through the beatitudes on Sundays.  He shared with us that the first blessing goes to the poor in spirit.  Poor in spirit means to be spiritually bankrupt.  I have nothing in the bank that I can offer to bail me out of my sin.  When my bankrupt self admits that to the Father then I receive the kingdom of heaven!  When I admit I have nothing to offer then I get everything I really need.  What a beautiful realization it was for me that I could remove the facade of having it all together.  Christ knew my empty bank account already, and He was just waiting for me to acknowledge and ask Him to take over.  Now I have the kingdom of heaven and I weep and mourn over my sins and hunger for His righteousness.  It is what we try to teach and live out in Celebrate Recovery, pray for all of us who attend and for the seekers learning to step out of the darkness of guilt and shame and into Christ's marvelous love and forgiveness.
Praise: For this opportunity to be encouraged by our front line members.  
Pray: For my health and theirs as they move around in a somewhat volatile travel situation.  Pray for Shannon and the kids are they hold down the fort in Singapore and begin a new semester of school.
Also, please be in prayer for all the health care providers caring for those suffering from the Wuhan virus.  Pray for wisdom for how to contain the spread and when/if to declare an epidemic.